Will You Remember God? Genesis 8

Look at how important this event of Noah’s Flood is in the Genesis account – Moses devotes a number of chapters to this one point in time.

Jeffery Smith: What were they [Noah and his family on the Ark] thinking?

  • Perhaps sense of vindication

  • Sense of privilege and peace and comfort since God had saved them

  • Sense of awe and trepidation; ruins of a dead and buried world – everyone they had ever known was dead except them

  • Very humbling – Why Me? Noah found grace

  • Uneasiness regarding the future

  • Difficult to be patient and wait for God’s timing

  • Sense of loneliness; perhaps being forgotten by God – no communication for so long

(:1a)  CLIMAX – GOD REMEMBERING NOAH AND ALL THE OCCUPANTS OF THE ARK

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark;

Are you ever at a point in your life where you think that God has forgotten you; He has forgotten your trials; your struggles; your difficulties??

God always remembers His commitments to His covenant people

Parunak:  “God remembered Noah… .” Not a casual, passive response, as though God were liable to a “senior moment.”

  • It is deliberate. To see this, consider how the verb is used of people:

o They can be commanded to remember (and mostly, God is the object): Eccl 12:1; Isa 46:8 (bring to mind); Deut 32:7.

o They can be condemned for not remembering. Ezek 16:22, 43

  • It is personal. What God remembers is mostly people or events associated with people (e.g., their sin, their misfortune). (And what people mostly remember or forget is God.)
  • It is active. Always associated with action.

o Here, he remembers and withdraws the waters.

o 19:29, he remembers Abraham and thus delivers Lot from the cities of the plain before the judgment.

o 30:22, he remembers Rachel and gives her a child.

o When he remembers sin, it is to punish it, Jer 14:10.

We tend to think of forgetting as accidental, outside of our control. And it may be, in cases of dementia. But with healthy people, if you really care about something and focus your attention on it, you don’t forget it. Isa 49:15, “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” “I forgot” is less an excuse than a confession that “I didn’t care.” Conversely, if something is really important to you, you remember it. Thus Moses uses the word to remind us how precious Noah and his cargo are to God. The Lord has had his eye on them the whole time.

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Dr. James Boice: It is God’s nature to remember. He is faithful. To be sure, this is the first time in the Bible where we are told that God remembered something. But this was not the last time. Genesis 19:29 tells us that “God remembered Abraham” and rescued his nephew Lot. “God remembered Rachel,” Isaac’s wife, and she conceived (Genesis 30:22). Psalm 9:12 tells us that God “remembers…the afflicted.” Many times God is said to remember His covenant or His promises. The psalmist writes that He “remembered us in our low estate” (Psalm 136:23).

IN THE MIDST OF DIVINE JUDGMENT GOD REMEMBERS HIS COVENANT PEOPLE BY ACTIVLELY CARING FOR ALL THEIR NEEDS

3 KEY WAYS THAT GOD REMEMBERED NOAH

I. (:1b-5) PROVIDING REST — CAUSING THE WATERS TO RECEDE SO THE ARK CAME TO REST

A.  (:1b) Divine Intervention Causes Waters to Subside

and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.

Brings order and new life out of chaos and destruction

This had been a prolonged period of extreme turbulence; the powers of nature unleashed in catastrophic demonstration of the wrath of God

Parunak: God drives the waters back with a wind. The Hebrew word is the same as “spirit,” as in 1:2, and one of the words used at the pinnacle of 7:21-23 (22, “breath of the spirit of life”) to emphasize the coming of death.

o We are reminded that the world has returned to its primitive state of sterile death, and now as then the lifegiving Spirit of God offers the promise of better things to come.

o Compare the role of the wind/spirit in driving back the waters at the Red Sea (Exod 14:21, where it is clearly the wind)

Jeffery Smith: The means God used – sent a wind:  common thread throughout Scripture

  • 1:2 – echo of creation; Spirit brought order out of chaos; same word; bringing a new world into existence; a new creation
  • Event of deliverance from Egyptian bondage at the Red Sea – 14:21 – a strong east wind
  • Dry bones in Ezekiel 37:9
  • New birth – John 3:8
  • Day of Pentecost – Acts 2:2 – signal that God was about to do something

God acts in the context of human helplessness; when we can do nothing to save ourselves; God causes the wind to come and blow – all of grace

B.  (2-3) Fountains and Floodgates Stopped So That Waters Recede

Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed,

and the rain from the sky was restrained;

and the water receded steadily from the earth,

       and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased.

Parunak: Then we are told that the waters withdraw, using five different words:

o “aswaged,” $akak, used of wrath in Est 2:1; 7:10; compare this with the

anthropomorphism in “prevailed” in 7:17-24.

o “stopped,” sakar

o “restrained” kala’

o “returned” $ub

o “abated, decreased” xaser

C.  (:4) Ark Lands

And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month,

        the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.

Significance of the ark coming to its resting place

Significance of Jesus resting after completing His work of redemption

Significance of God wanting His people to enter in to an eternal rest

D.  (:5) Mountain Tops Become Visible

And the water decreased steadily until the tenth month;

in the tenth month, on the first day of the month,

       the tops of the mountains became visible.

Look at how specific God is in recording the timing in days and months . . .

Prophetic passages of judgment in the last days, the day of the Lord, in book of Rev. will be literal and just as detailed and specific

Transition to the theme of HOPE

II.  (:6-12) PROVIDING HOPE — GRANTING WAITING NOAH A GRACIOUS SIGN THAT THE LAND WAS DRYING OUT AND BECOMING INHABITABLE AGAIN

(:6)  Window of Hope  

Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made;

Parunak: The 40 days recalls the 40 days of the rising waters in 7:17, which initiated the 150 days before the ark grounded. So we have a little chiasm emerging in the dates:

  • 40 days of rising water after the door is sealed

  • 150 – 50 = 110 days of sailing until the ark grounds

  • 40 days of declining water before Noah opens the window.

A.  (:7) Test #1  — The Mission of the Raven

and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there

       until the water was dried up from the earth.

B.  (:8-9) Test #2

  1. (:8)   The Mission of the Dove

Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land;

  1. (:9a)  The Return of the Dove

but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot,

so she returned to him into the ark;

for the water was on the surface of all the earth.

  1. (:9b)  The Recovery of the Dove

Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.

C.  (:10-11) Test #3

  1. (:10)  The Mission of the Dove

So he waited yet another seven days;

                and again he sent out the dove from the ark.

  1. (:11)  The Success of the Dove

And the dove came to him toward evening;

               and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf.

              So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth.

D.  (:12) Test #4 – The Mission of the Dove

Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove;

       but she did not return to him again.

III.  (:13-19)  PROVIDING NEW BEGINNINGS — COMMANDING NOAH AND THE OCCUPANTS OF THE ARK TO DISEMBARK AND BEGIN LIFE ANEW ON AN EARTH PURGED OF HUMAN WICKEDNESS

A.  (:13-14) Dry Ground

  1. (:13a)  Statement

Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month,

               on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth.

  1. (:13b)  Verification

Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked,

                and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.

  1. (:14)  Statement

And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month,

               the earth was dry.

Parunak: The drying of the land is depicted in two stages:

  • First “the face of the ground is dry,” without standing water, but still swampy and muddy.

  • 57 days later, “the earth was dry,” firm enough to support traffic.

B.  (:15-17) Command to Disembark and Replenish the Renewed Earth

  1. (:15)  Word of God

                  Then God spoke to Noah, saying,

  1. (:16)  People

Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.

  1. (:17s)  Animals

Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds

                and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,

  1. (:17b)  Goal

that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”

C.  (:18-19) Process of Disembarking

  1. (:18)  People

So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.

  1. (:19)  Animals

Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.

(:20-22)  EPILOGUE – NOAH’S RESPONSE / GOD’S RESPONSE  =

REMEMBERING GOD IN WORSHIP / REMEMBERING COVENANT COMMITMENTS

A.  (:20) Noah Offering Up Worship

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

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Parunak: Building an Altar.—This is the first reference in the Bible to “building an altar,” an activity that preoccupies godly men in every age of the OT, down through Jeshua the son of Jozadak the high priest (Ezra 3:2) upon the return of the Babylonian exiles to Jerusalem. We can imagine that Cain and Abel in Gen 4 had altars, but this is the first explicit mention of constructing one.

In Genesis, building an altar marks the travels of Abraham (12:7 in Shechem, 8 in Bethel; 13:18 in Hebron; 22:9 on Mt. Moreh to offer Isaac), Isaac (26:25 in Beersheba), Jacob (35:7 in Bethel). In every case, it is the first thing the builder constructs when he arrives at a place. In fact, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in tents, so it was the only sort of permanent structure they constructed. So for Noah, newly landed on an earth destitute of civilization, the first structure he feels a need to construct is an altar for worship. He doesn’t start with a house, or a barn, or a bridge over a nearby stream. Of all the many things to which he might have devoted his effort, he starts with an altar.

Application: What is your first priority in moving to a new location? It ought to be identifying the believers and getting to know them, so that you can join them in worship. Whatever the reason for your move, you should make your spiritual home your priority.

Extent of the Offerings.—Note the extravagance of Noah’s offering: he offered “of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl.” One might expect he would offer a sheep one day, a dove the next, and a goat the third, for example, stretching out his supplies. But he offers up representatives of every kind that he had brought aboard, severely depleting his resources.

Application: It has become unfashionable to inconvenience ourselves in worshipping God. Churches seek to schedule their services so that people don’t have to give up their weekend time. We hire professionals so that people don’t have to invest their own effort in Bible study to have something to share with their brothers and sisters. We are less and less interested in sacrificing anything in our worship. But sacrifice is of the essence of worship: see David’s spirit in 2 Sam 24:18-24, “neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.”

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B.  (:21-22) God Pledging His Faithfulness to His Covenant People

  1. (:21a)  Pleased with the Worship of Noah

And the LORD smelled the soothing aroma;

  1. (:21b-22)  Pledges Faithfulness

and the LORD said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will

                never again destroy every living  thing, as I have done.’

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

CONCLUSION:

Ps. 27:14  Wait on the Lord

Neh. 5:19  prayer of Nehemiah

Jonah 2:7  I remembered the Lord and my prayer went up to you

Thief on the cross – Lord, remember me